I crawled to the bed in our small state room, lay down fully clothed, said a prayer and waited to die. Yes, I can have a propensity toward the melodramatic but I truly thought I was dying so in this case I suppose it was warranted. Let me explain.
Having been invited by friends of ours to join them on a spring cruise vacation, my first thought was of waves in constant motion and me being constantly sick. Plagued by motion sickness early on, I was the child who threw up on almost any ride at the fair and for whom the family vehicle was stopped on multiple road trips so I could hang my head out the door.
The idea of being on a ship in the middle of the ocean for days left me in a panic. The few attempts I had made at deep sea fishing with my dad had ended with both of us feeding the fish our lunch and literally being laid out in the bottom of the boat. But eventually my sense of adventure and love of new experiences won out and I committed to making the trip.
My husband assured me the new scopolamine patch on the market would alleviate the symptoms of motion sickness but I wasn’t convinced. I made an appointment to see our family doctor and he prescribed a pill for motion sickness to begin taking prior to leaving land. Having used Dramamine on trips as a child, I decided to stock up on that as well. Can’t be too careful, right? I also purchased the increasingly popular wristbands which work by pressure point to prevent motion sickness. I was taking all precautions against my worst fear.
Armed with my arsenal of aids and a large suitcase, I boarded the ship. I made a mental checklist: Scopolamine patch? Check. Prescription drug? Check. Pressure point wristband? Check. And for extra good measure, Dramamine? Check. As a matter of fact, if one of those is good, two is probably better. Check. Check. The last thing I wanted to do was be sea sick on this trip!
Never having been on a cruise ship before, I was amazed at the beauty and grandeur of its interior, the spaciousness of the deck, the amenities it had to offer. As the ship embarked, I had the feeling I was in an old black and white movie where the wealthy, smartly dressed people are seen waving from the ship’s balcony to the crowd below. Glamorous indeed.
Encouraged by the fact that I only sensed a mild queasiness in my stomach along with a constant sense of imbalance, I dressed and prepared for a beautiful evening. By dinnertime, the “relaxed” feeling I had noticed late afternoon had gone all the way past “lethargic” to an absolute state of “stupor”.
As introductions were made at our table I struggled to make conversation or to even care what was being said. When the waiter brought our menus I opened mine and was confused by the fact that all the letters were blurred and just told the waiter to bring me whatever my husband was having.
When the first course of creamy lobster bisque was served, I watched my hand deliver it to my mouth in v-e-r-y-s-l-o-o-o-w-m-o-t-i-o-n. I eventually quit trying to eat and just focused on keeping my head propped up so it wouldn’t fall in my plate. My tongue felt large, my speech was slurred and my brain was lost in a fog. But it wasn’t until I looked up at the man seated across from me and saw two faces that I knew I was in trouble! I’ve never been a drinker or done drugs but I’m pretty sure I was stoned!
Excusing myself from the table, I told my husband to stay and enjoy the evening, while I took my overdosed high heeled wearing self back to our room. Staggering down the halls and squinting to make the blurred numbers come into focus, I finally managed to locate our room and without even turning on the lights or taking off those high heels, fell straight into the bed.
I’ve never been a drinker or done drugs but I’m pretty sure I was stoned!
Around midnight I awoke, needing to use the restroom. Hanging on to the furniture, I made my way into the small bathroom, flipped on the light and plopped onto the toilet, propping my head up in my hands. It was then I looked down and noticed that my legs were yellow. My arms and hands were yellow. ALL of me was yellow!
Deciding that I had been poisoned, the only thing I could think to do was ask God if the coast was clear between us, crawl back to my bed, lay myself down and wait to die. I was honestly too drugged to think clearly enough to call for help.
The next morning I was awakened by my husband’s voice coming from the bathroom. “Hmmm, I wonder why they put a yellow light bulb in here?” ARE YOU KIDDING ME? You mean I’m NOT dying? I wasn’t poisoned? And no one found me fully clothed, hands folded, lying in state during the night?
Hopefully the ship doctor had seen worse cases of stupidity than mine. His immediate advice was to discontinue all drugs, remove the patch from behind my ear and spend the entire day on deck breathing in fresh air and eating as many of the fresh pastries being served as I could. He said the food would help absorb some of the drugs that were in my system.
By day three I was finally coming back around to a state of normalcy but had wasted half of the cruise trip trying to recover from being “wasted”!
My adventure on the high seas taught me a valuable lesson: DON’T LET YOUR FEARS BECOME BIGGER THAN YOUR CERTAINTY. I had let the dread of WHAT IF crowd out the potential of WHAT WAS. My enjoyment of that first cruise was greatly reduced because of over medicating myself.
We have but one chance at making the life we’re given the beautiful expression God intended it to be.
I’m sure you have your own “Titanic” story as well. Does the fear of being hurt keep you from the intimacy you so desire? Does the fear of failure loom larger than your courage to see a business dream fulfilled? Do thoughts of rejection limit you from fully relishing the beauty of being yourself?
As a fifth grader, I attended a very rough inner city school. That year 2 Timothy 1:7 became my favorite verse in the Bible: “For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind”. It helped me through the bullying, the threats and the physical danger that were part of that year. It has remained an anchor for my adult life as well.
We have but one chance at making the life we’re given the beautiful expression God intended it to be. Let’s not waste it by numbing ourselves out with things that we hope protect us from our fears. But rather, let’s jump on the ship, head for the open waters and maximize the experience! Oh, and leave the Dramamine behind.